TOKYO - Japan's new-vehicle sales in May slipped 0.4 percent from a year earlier as lackluster sales of compact cars, light trucks, imports and 660cc minivehicles outweighed strong demand for regular-sized cars.
Among Japan's Big 5 automakers, Toyota Motor Corp., Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp. posted higher sales. Sales fell at Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co.
Honda sales tumbled 21.4 percent in May, the eighth consecutive monthly decline, while Nissan was off 3.5 percent, the second straight decline. Both companies reported lower sales of compact cars and minis.
Sales of the Honda Fit, Japan's best-selling model in 2002, fell 27.5 percent in May, although the compact car still ranked No. 2 behind the Toyota Corolla. Honda's minicar sales shrank 16.5 percent ahead of the anticipated debut of a revamped Life this year.
Sales of Nissan's sole minicar, the Moco, built by Suzuki Motor Corp., plunged 56.1 percent, while the March compact was off 33.3 percent.